Staff Members

Home » Prof D Bilchitz
Prof D Bilchitz

Lecturer: Public Law
Name: David Bilchitz
Location: A-Ring 704 Auckland Park Kingsway Campus
Academic Law Staff, Law Academic Staff, Law Professors, Public Law Staff  Staff Members

Contact Details:
Tel: +27 (0)11 339 1994


About Prof D Bilchitz

David Bilchitz MASSAf is a Professor of Fundamental Rights and Constitutional Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Johannesburg and Director of the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law (SAIFAC), a centre of UJ. He is also a Professor of Law (part-time) at the University of Reading (UK).  He was appointed in October 2023 as an Acting Justice of the Constitutional Court for the first term of 2024.

Prof Bilchitz was elected as a member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa in 2020. He was the Secretary-General of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL) from 2013-2020 and is now a Vice-President of the Association. He was the lead organiser of the World Congress of Constitutional Law which took place between 5-9 December 2022 and was hosted by the University of Johannesburg. Professor Bilchitz is also a trustee of the Constitutional Court Trust.

In 2017, Professor Bilchitz was awarded a Von Humboldt Foundation Georg Forster Fellowship  which enabled him to take up the position of  Visiting Research Professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin between August 2017 and August 2018. He has also been a Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore and a Visiting Research Professor at the Minerva Centre for Human Rights, University of Tel Aviv.

Professor Bilchitz published a monograph with Cambridge University Press in 2021 titled ‘Fundamental Rights and the Legal Obligations of Business’. His previous monograph, ‘Poverty and Fundamental Rights’ (Oxford University Press, 2007) provides a justification for socio-economic rights and develops a legal doctrinal approach to give effect to them. In addition to these books, Professor Bilchitz has 5 co-edited books, 1 textbook (on Jurisprudence), 28 book chapters and 41 journal articles. His extensive writing covers a range of topics in the field of constitutional law and fundamental rights: these include, amongst others, writings on proportionality, socio-economic rights, business and fundamental rights, the separation of powers, the rights of non-human animals, the tension between religion and equality and LGBT+ rights.  Professor Bilchitz has also taught at leading institutions across the world as well as presenting at numerous conferences both in South Africa and internationally.

Professor Bilchitz is also a Managing Editor of Constitutional Court Review. He is also on the Editorial Board of a range of journals including the Business and Human Rights Journal; Max Planck Encylopaedia for Comparative Constitutional Law; Law, Ethics and Philosophy; International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies; and the Global Journal of Animal Law.

Professor Bilchitz attempts to use his research to create an impact on society. He has written several reports for leading non-governmental organisations and also made submissions both to the South African parliament and executive. He has acted as a consultant to International IDEA and UNDP, providing input on the Tunisian and Egyptian Constitutions (when they were being reformed). He has been a vocal proponent of a business and human rights treaty and, in that capacity, he has been an invited expert by the United Nations to address the Intergovernmental Working Group charged with developing this instrument. He has also sought to work towards reforms both in the law and wider society in addressing poverty, the welfare and rights of animals, LGBT rights and womens’ rights. He was one of the key drivers in the campaign for civil marriage for same-sex couples in South Africa and acted as a legal advisor to the Joint Working Group (a coalition of 17 lesbian and gay organisations).

Professor Bilchitz has a BA (Hons) LLB cum laude from the University of the Witwatersrand. He graduated with an MPhil in Philosophy from St. John’s College, University of Cambridge in 2001 and with a PhD in law (and political philosophy) from the same university in 2004. Prior to that, Prof Bilchitz worked as a law clerk to Chief Justice Langa of the Constitutional Court in 2000 (who was then Deputy Judge-President). From August 2004 to 2006, he worked at Ross Kriel Attorneys, a law firm dealing with public sector law and he is also an admitted attorney.



BA (Hons) LLB (University of the Witwatersand)

MPhil (University of Cambridge)

PhD (University of Cambridge)

List of Publications